Ping-Pong Problem-Solving STEAM Challenge

By: Tina Shaffer

Ping-Pong balls make for great STEM challenge materials. Our Ping-Pong Problem-Solving STEAM activity challenges students to build a structure that will hold a Ping-Pong ball cantilevered as far away as possible. Have them work together in groups to solve the challenge in under 8 minutes and see which group can earn the most points!

Not able to meet in person? Have your students work together virtually in groups to solve the challenge. One student in each group can build the structure based on collaborative direction from their group members.

Challenge: Build a structure with a base inside of a taped square to hold a Ping-Pong ball cantilevered as far as possible from the taped square.

Setup: On the floor, use masking tape to create a 12in x 12in square.

Materials: 6 straws, 6 index cards, 6 inches of masking tape, 3 paper clips, 3 feet of string, 1 Ping-Pong ball, 1 pair of scissors
*The scissors may not be damaged and may not be used as part of the solution

Time: 8 minutes

A. 4 points for every inch of cantilever of the Ping-Pong ball from the taped square (Up to 80 points max)
B. Up to 20 points for the creativity of your structure
C. Up to 20 points for how well your group works together


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